Aquaculture for all

Fisheries and Aquaculture of the United States 2013

Sustainability Economics Politics +2 more

This publication is the annual National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) yearbook of fishery statistics for the United States. The report provides data on U.S. recreational catch and commercial fisheries landings and value.

Lucy Towers thumbnail

US Landings

Commercial landings (edible and industrial) by U.S. fishermen at ports in the 50 states were 9.9 billion pounds or 4.5 million metric tons valued at $5.5 billion in 2013—an increase of 245 million pounds (up 2.5 percent) and of $388 million (up 7.6 percent) compared with 2012.

Finfish accounted for 87 percent of the total landings, but only 47 percent of the value. The 2013 average exvessel price paid to fishermen was 55 cents per pound compared to 53 cents per pound in 2012. Catches of Alaska pollock, Pacific whiting and other Pacific groundfish that are processed at-sea aboard U.S. vessels in the northeastern Pacific are credited as “landings” to the state nearest to the area of capture.

Information on landing port or percentage of catch transferred to transport ships for delivery to foreign ports is unavailable. These at-sea processed fishery products, on a round (live) weight basis, exceeded 1.5 million metric tons in 2013 and comprised 33.5 percent of the total domestic landings in the 50 states. Commercial landings by U.S. fishermen at ports outside the 50 states provided an additional 556 million pounds (252,061 metric tons) valued at $549 million.

This was a decrease of 1 percent, or 6.3 million pounds (2,844 metric tons) in quantity and an increase of $18.8 million (3.5 percent) in value compared with 2012. Most of these landings consisted of tuna landed in American Samoa and other foreign ports. Note that improved foreign port in 2012 resulted in a more complete dataset, and thus higher numbers, than are usually available at the time of publication. Use caution when comparing 2013 and 2012 data to those from earlier years.

Edible fish and shellfish landings in the 50 states were over 8 billion pounds (3.7 million metric tons) in 2013—an increase of 576 million pounds (261,305 metric tons) compared with 2012. Landings for reduction and other industrial purposes were 1.8 billion pounds (nearly 830,000 metric tons) in 2013—a decrease of 15 percent compared with 2012. The 2013 U.S. marine recreational finfish catch (including fish kept and fish released (discarded) on the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts (including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico) was an estimated 430 million fish taken on an estimated 71 million fishing trips. The harvest (fish kept or released dead) was estimated at 167 million fish weighing 239 million pounds.


In 2012, estimated freshwater plus marine U.S. aquaculture production was 594 million pounds with a value of $1.23 billion, a decrease of 17 million pounds (2.8%) in volume and 103 million (7.7%) in value from 2011. Atlantic salmon was the leading species for marine finfish aquaculture, with 42.5 million pounds produced (up 3.8%) valued at $77.1 million (down 25.9%). Oysters have the highest volume for marine shellfish production. (34.8 million pounds, up 31%) The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that nearly half of the world’s consumption of seafood comes from aquaculture.

Globally, Asia is the leading continent for aquaculture production volume with 88 percent of the global total of 66.6 million metric tons. The top five producing countries are in Asia: China, with 62% of the global total; India, 6%; Viet Nam, 5%; Indonesia, 5%; and Bangladesh 3%. The United States ranks fifteenth in production.

World Landing

In 2012, the most recent year for which global data are available, world commercial fishery landings and aquaculture production were 158 million metric tons—an increase of 2.2 million metric tons compared with 2011. Aquaculture production increased by 4.63 million metric tons while fishery landings decreased by 2.4 million tons. China was the leading nation in both fishery landings and aquaculture production accounting for 36 percent of the total harvest. India is the second leading producer with 6 percent. Indonesia was the third with just under 6 percent. Viet Nam, The United States, Peru and follow with 3.6 percent, 3.5 percent and 3 percent of the global harvest, respectively.


The 2013 annual exvessel price index for edible fish remained unchanged. Shellfish increased by 19 percent and industrial products increased by 13 iv FUS 2013 Reviewpercent compared with 2012. Exvessel price indices increased for 18 out of 32 species groups being tracked, decreased for 14 species groups, and no product groups were unchanged. The sockeye salmon price index had the largest increase (62 percent) while the flounders price index showed the largest decrease (52 percent).

Processed Products

The estimated value of the 2013 domestic production of edible and nonedible fishery products was $10.8 billion, essentially unchanged from 2012. The value of edible products was $10.6 billion—also essentially unchanged compared with 2012. The value of industrial products was $749 million in 2013—with no significant change from 2012.

Foreign Trade

The total import value of edible and nonedible fishery products was $33.2 billion in 2013—an increase of $2.1 billion compared with 2012. Imports of edible fishery products (product weight) were 5.4 billion pounds valued at $18.0 billion in 2013. Volume remained essentially constant, with a decrease of 34.0 million pounds, while value increased by $1.4 billion compared with 2012. Imports of nonedible (i.e., industrial) products were $15.2 billion—an increase of $736 million compared with 2012.

Total export value of edible and nonedible fishery products was $29.1 billion in 2013—an increase of $1.7 billion compared with 2012. United States firms exported 3.3 billion pounds of edible products valued at $5.6 billion—volume increased slightly, with an increase of 69.3 million pounds, while value increased $112.8 million compared with 2012. Exports of nonedible products were valued at $23.5 billion, $1.6 billion more than 2012.


The U.S. supply of edible fishery products (domestic landings plus imports, round weight equivalent, minus exports) was 11.5 billion pounds in 2013— essentially unchanged from 2012. The supply of industrial fishery products was 569 million pounds in 2013—a decrease of 338 million pounds (37%) compared with 2012.

Per Capita Consumption

Estimated U.S. per capita consumption of fish and shellfish was 14.5 pounds (edible meat) in 2013. This total was essentially unchanged from the 14.4 pounds consumed in 2012.

Consumer Expenditures

U.S. consumers spent an estimated $86.5 billion for fishery products in 2013. The 2013 total includes $57.9 billion in expenditures at food service establishments (restaurants, carry-outs, caterers, etc.); $28.1 billion in retail sales for home consumption; and $478 million for industrial fish products. By producing and marketing a variety of fishery products for domestic and foreign markets, the commercial marine fishing industry contributed $43.6 billion (in value added) to the U.S. Gross National Product.

October 2014

Further Reading

You can view the full report by clicking here.

Create an account now to keep reading

It'll only take a second and we'll take you right back to what you were reading. The best part? It's free.

Already have an account? Sign in here